I’m not really sure where this is going to end up. I just know where it is now.
I was out with a friend a while back, and we got to talking about romantic relationships, and dating. It became something of a debate, after we’d gotten caught up on the details of our lives since we’d last talked with any depth.
It was odd that the conversation got there. But it was natural, and comfortable, in ways it might not have been in our prior associations. More than I can recall, I TRIED to make it natural and comfortable, as if it was a subject I could discuss without feeling out of my depth and wanting to run from the room, embarassed.
In any case, we had our catch-up, discussion, and debate, on whether the internet and it’s associated trappings (email, chat, Facebook, etc. etc. ad nauseum) made those kinds of relationships easier or harder. He thought it was harder. I thought it was easier.
The odd thing was, I didn’t disagree with a lot of what he said. In some ways, having these other, less threatening ways to socialize, where you’re not immediately facing someone, has encouraged us to remain in our comfortable shells, behind a keyboard where nothing can hurt us, and where we can project whatever image we like. I have struggled- I DO struggle- with that myself sometimes. It’s easier for me to be here, rather than to put myself on the line in a social setting, with people I don’t know. I need to get out more. I usually enjoy it when I do.
In the right hands, however, I believe connecting online can be a powerful tool, for any kind of relationship. I can speak as to a success story with two of my own friends, who met through a Christian dating service, and are now happily married. I know that my writing, chatting, and podcasting have helped me make connections with people all across the world. And while my one attempt at a long distance romantic relationship didn’t work, I do take positives out of having tried to make it work. You try and take the positives from it, learn and grow.
The trick, I believe, is to not let yourself get trapped into only connecting that way. Your computer, your email, your blogging, should be a tool within your connections and relationships, and not the sole thread by which your relationships exist. To use the words of one Austin Powers (in what may well be the only instance these words have ever been quoted): “We have freedom AND responsibility. It’s a very groovy time.”
I have to say, this finished up much better than I thought it would. I expected maudlin and emo, and got preachy and self-important. Well done, Churchy, well done.